The Southeastern Spine Institute

As you age, your bones become thinner, weaker and more brittle. You’re therefore more likely to experience a broken bone when you get older. Something as simple as having a minor fall or putting stress on a bone by twisting, bending or lifting — even a bag of groceries — can cause a bone to unexpectedly break.

Your bones are continually being recreated throughout your life, but this process slows down as you get older. When the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the loss of old bone, it’s called osteoporosis. Fractures from osteoporosis commonly happen in your spine, hips or wrists, where your bones are naturally thin.

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

There are several factors that may increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, such as:

  • Being female
  • Passing the age of 30
  • Having a family history of osteoporosis
  • Being petite or small-boned
  • Drinking alcohol to excess
  • Suffering from an eating disorder
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Taking certain medications, such as prescribed steroids, on a long-term basis
  • Experiencing a reduction of estrogen levels, such as after menopause
  • Seeing a drop in hormone levels because of a cancer treatment

Your spine specialists at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) can help you determine what actions you can take to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. Taking action now may prevent you from incurring spinal fractures and weak back bones.

How Low Bone Density Affects Your Back

One sign that low bone density may be affecting your back is losing more than 1.6 inches in height. This loss of height may indicate a compression fracture in your spine. Your SSI physician may recommend testing the density of your bones if you’ve lost height.

While you may not notice any symptoms in the early stages of bone loss, back pain may be a sign of a collapsed or fractured vertebral bone. Weakened bones may also lead to a stooped posture.

Get Your Bone Density Tested at SSI

A bone density test can determine whether you have osteoporosis, even before a broken bone occurs. This test uses x-rays to measure how much of certain minerals are contained in a segment of bone. The higher the mineral content of your bones, the denser they are and the less likely they are to break easily. A bone mineral density test can show:

  • Whether you have osteoporosis
  • Your risk of breaking bones
  • How well your current osteoporosis treatment is working

Even if you have no symptoms of osteoporosis, which are often rare, your bones may be in the process of weakening. Talk to your doctor at SSI about available tests to clearly reveal the health of your bones.

What to Do About Low Bone Density

Understanding the consequences of poor bone health motivates you to be proactive to protect them. Actions you can take to prevent further bone loss include the right exercises, a proper diet and fall-proofing your home. If you’ve had surgery and you’re receiving treatment for back pain, your doctor may recommend medication to slow bone loss or help rebuild bone.

The spine specialists at SSI help you make the most of your bone health. Make an appointment today to have your bones checked. Learn the best ways to prevent the debilitating effects of osteoporosis and bone loss.